Rebecca Goyette and Brian Andrew Whiteley as Sarah Palin and Donald Trump (photo by Venitko)

This week, two performance artists channel Sarah Palin and Donald Trump, art critics do their thing live, a sound artist demonstrates his homemade musical instruments, and much more.

 Trump/Palin Performance Art Rally

When: Tuesday, February 9, 7pm
Where: White Box Gallery (329 Broome Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

As the election year continues to heat up, we’re going to need ever larger doses of art to help us process and poke fun at it. Why not start tonight (if you haven’t already) with artists Brian Andrew Whiteley and Rebecca Goyette, who will be dressing and hamming it up as Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, respectively. The performance–cum–rally coincides with the New Hampshire primary, so you’ll have moral support and hopefully a drink in hand as the real results roll in.

 Artistic Humor and Abjection

When: Tuesday, February 9, 7–8pm
Where: Cooper Union (141 Cooper Square, East Village, Manhattan)

One of my biggest frustrations with art is that it tends to take itself too seriously. We need more humor! Jayson Musson and Sean J. Patrick Carney are both artists, and they’re both funny — and quite self-deprecating — and they’ll discuss all of these things in their talk at Cooper Union. Start brainstorming humorous hashtags now.

 Art Criticism, Live!

When: Tuesday, February 9, 7:30–9pm
Where: Brooklyn Public Library (10 Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn)

This recurring series of critical dialogues about current exhibitions around the city has relocated from the Upper East Side’s National Academy Museum to the Brooklyn Public Library and tapped chief New York Times art critic Roberta Smith for its Brooklyn debut. Smith, along with novelist Siri Hustvedt and artist Alexi Worth (with artcritical editor David Cohen moderating), will offer their hot takes on current exhibitions by Katherine Bradford and Elizabeth Kley on the Lower East Side, Glenn Ligon‘s video installation at Luhring Augustine Bushwick, and Charles Harlan‘s sober installations and sculptures at Pioneer Works. —BS

 American Artists Against War


When: Wednesday, February 10, 6–8pm
Where: New York Public Library (Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, Midtown, Manhattan)

In conjunction with the publication of his new book, American Artists Against War, 1935–2010, art historian David McCarthy will join artists Martha Rosler and Joyce Kozloff for a historical overview of antiwar art from the 1930s to the Iraq War (2003–11). According to the New York Public Library, American Artists Against War is the result of over a dozen years worth of research by McCarthy. The book’s subjects include Ed Kienholz, Nancy Spero, Leon Golub, and Coco Fusco. Rosler and Kozloff will specifically contribute to Wednesday’s presentation by discussing their own experiences as artists and activists from the 1960s onwards. —TM

 Portraiture in Early New York

When: Thursday, February 11, 6:30pm
Where: Museum of the City of New York (1220 Fifth Avenue, East Harlem, Manhattan)

How did Alexander Hamilton grow up to be a hero and a scholar? Part of it was portraiture, and this conversation, organized in conjunction with the exhibition Picturing Prestige: New York Portraits, 1700–1860, focuses on how the founding father without a father went from immigrant orphan to colonial icon through his portraits. The panel will also discuss how other elite families in 18th- to early-19th-century New York used portraiture to secure their public image and status in the new United States. —AM

One of Ranjit Bhatnagar’s musical instruments (via Facebook)

 Musical Ecologies

When: Thursday, February 11, 8–10pm
Where: Old Stone House (336 3rd Street, East Village, Manhattan)

Every year since 2008, sound artist Ranjit Bhatnagar has dedicated each day in February to making a new musical instrument. You can check out the results of his project at its mid-way mark this week as part of Musical Ecologies, a symposium on music and sound that features a new artist each month. Bhatnagar has been sharing some of these peculiar sculptures online, but you’re going to want to experience them in person to hear the curious noises and compositions they emit. —CV

Art as protest (via Facebook)

 Art as Protest, Protest as Art

When: Friday, February 12, 7–9pm
Where: Leisure Life NYC (559 Myrtle Avenue, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn)

Art and protest can come together in countless different ways. This panel offers a chance to hear the approaches and stories of three people working in that intersectional place: performance artist Jamal T. Lewis, graphic and web designer Janisha R. Gabriel, and curator Isissa Komada-John, all in conversation with Hyperallergic contributor Erica Cardwell. The program is part of Black Artstory, a Black History Month series of public art displays, talks, film screenings, and more celebrating black art and social change all along Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn.

 William Gropper’s Drawings

When: Opens Sunday, February 14
Where: The Queens Museum (New York City Building, Flushing Meadows/Corona Park, Queens)

William Gropper’s political cartoons and drawings of disease and poverty stemmed, in part, from personal experience. Born in 1897, he grew up poor in the Lower East Side, working in a sweatshop and privately fostering his passion for drawing. Looking to Daumier and Goya, specifically the latter’s Los caprichos, for inspiration, Gropper became an influential cartoonist for The New Yorker, The Nation, Vanity Fair, among other publications, as well as a political threat — the government blacklisted him for exhibiting Communist affinities. Many of the original drawings in Bearing Witness will be on view for the first time. —EWA

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With contributions by Elisa Wouk Almino, Allison Meier, Tiernan Morgan, Benjamin Sutton, and Claire Voon

Jillian Steinhauer is a former senior editor of Hyperallergic. She writes largely about the intersection of art and politics but has also been known to write at length about cats. She won the 2014 Best...